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the stairway to heaven oahu hawaii complete guide

The stairway to heaven Oahu Hike (Haiku Stairs), Hawaii

Hiking the stairway to heaven Oahu; What you need to know **UPDATED**

It is no longer legal to click the stairway to heaven. But you can read this guide for future use!

The stairway to heaven Oahu – perfect for any Hawaii itinerary! It has now become one of the most popular hotspots in the world, for fun-loving travellers. Thanks to social media. Also, known as the Haiku Stairs, the stairway is one of the top attractions on the island. This crazy adrenaline hike takes you up 3,922 stairs. From here you will literally be in the heavens and have incredible views over the island. The craziest thing, there’s only a handrail supporting climbers to the top. This is why it’s known for being dangerous, and why climbers are now being fined for risking the hike!

The Stairway to Heaven hike in Oahu is one of the most popular hikes on the islands. The trail spans about 1.5 miles, and offers breathtaking 360 degree views of the North Shore and Waimea Bay. It is a one way trail that does not allow motor vehicle access, so be sure to carry plenty of water and wear comfortable walking shoes for this hike.

Climb the sacred Pupukea Stairway on Oahu, Hawaii. This trail ascends over 2000 feet over 1.5 miles to the top of Pu’u ‘Ualaka’e crater, with spectacular views of the north shore and outer islands of the Hawaii island. This is by far the most popular hike in the state of Hawaii. Hike early to get a quiet experience or late afternoon for a stunning sunset. Waiting at the end is the ancient temple site known as Hale o Kapuni. A one time place of worship for Hawaiian royalty before Christianity emerged in these islands.

The stairway to heaven Oahu infographic

How can I legally climb stairway to heaven?

This hiking should not be attempted. It is ILLEGAL and trespassing on government land to be on the Haiku Stairs (also known as the “Stairway to Heaven”). In 2015, a strong storm hit the island of Oahu, causing major damage to the stairway, leaving it unsafe and unusable.

How to get the Haiku Stairs?

To get to the Stairway to heaven; you will either have to rent a car or scooter. Or, you could take the local bus. Whichever way of transport you take, you will want to make your way to the neighborhood which is located roughly 1900 ft Northeast of the Haiku stairs.

If you’re using a satnav, then use this address: Makena St Kaneohe, HI 96744. This will take you to the neighborhood. Here’s where you will embark on your hike!

Are you ready for some jungle trekking? You’ll have to make your way through the Hawaiin Jungle to reach the stairway to heaven Oahu. However, it’s all fenced off as it’s forbidden to pass through and climb the stairs. So, you have a few options;

  • Jump the fence and risk getting caught off the officials. There is not the best move, and it could leave you with a $1000 fine. 
  • Just one of the route paths such as the path that takes you on a road through the jungle.
  • Or, you can make your way down the Oahu canal.

Whichever path you take to the stairway to heaven, just take your time and don’t do anything silly. If you’re unsure then head back!

The next step is to hike through the Bamboo Forest. You will have to make some squeezes through bamboo – and you can bet it gets hot and sweaty! But, carry on through here until you reach the bottom of the Haiku stairs.

When you reach the bottom, I suggest you take in some water and get ready for the climb of your life! You will be climbing up the 3922 steps up the stairway to heaven. It is going to be hard work, but the views are incredible – which is why it’s one of the best things to do in Oahu.

Here is a Google map of the exact location;

How long does it take to climb?

Climbing the stairway to heaven is no easy task. Many see the gigantic climb and decide not to take on the challenge. Anyway, the time it takes depends on your fitness level. But you can expect anything from 2-5 hours from the first step, to the top of the Haiku Stairs.

When you reach the top, it will take you around 1-3 hours to get back down. However, DO NOT rush and take your time! The last thing you want to do is make hasty down the stairs – it’s too dangerous for that!

All-in-all, give yourself plenty of time to do the hike. I suggest you set off in the early morning. Then, you have all day to make the climb.

Oh yeah, on your way up, watch out for the spiders!

climbing the Haiku Stairs by the hand rail

Enjoy awesome fun? Check out this guide on the best things to do in Waikiki!

Is it illegal to climb the Stairway to Heaven?

The hike is heavily promoted on social media. If you’re a fan of travel, you will have seen the famous Haiku Stairs on Instagram. However, it is illegal to climb them. The police make a conscious effort to stop hikers make the 3922 climb to the top.

There have been many accidents which is why the law is getting more strict on this one.

Obviously people do still make the climb. So, it’s up to you if you want to risk the fine to climb the stairway to heaven. I have heard many cases where the police have seen people making the trip – and just ignored them. So, it just depends who’s on patrol – I guess?!

man on the stairways to heaven oahu

Tips for doing the hike

If you choose to do the hike of the Haiku Stairs; then here is a list of tips;

  • Take a flashlight up with you, and remember to check the batteries 
  • I would take plenty of water and snacks with you
  • If you feel like it’s too much to handle, don’t do the Haiku stairs hike
  • Try and do the climb with a Campanian
  • Remember there’s a fine involved if the police do decide to say something to you

Has the been deaths on the stairway to heaven?

There’s been plenty of injuries, and unfortunately fatalities. Which is why it’s now forbidden to go up the stairway to heaven. If you’re wondering what the death toll on the Haiku Stairs is, I’m not too sure, to be honest. However, as you can see, accidents do happen on here, so always take your time!

If you have been drinking or anything like that, then you definitely do not want to attempt the hike!

stairway to heaven Haiku Stairs deaths

YouTube Video

Check out this YouTube video of the stairway to heaven;

If you’re traveling around Hawaii, you need to check out my Hawaii itinerary for the ultimate dreamy bucketlist.

Where to stay in Oahu?

There’s plenty of places to stay in Oahu, and you can find a range of accommodation.

Let’s look at some of the best places to stay;

  1. Great location
  2. Stunning views
  3. Pure luxury

Final thoughts

Now you have everything you need to know about the stairway to heaven Oahu.

Remember, it’s totally up to you if you want to risk this climb or not. If you do, be safe and follow my tips!

Make sure you check out the Koko Head Trail hike!

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